The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has described the death of the the Arts Editor of the Vanguard Newspaper, Mr. Mcphilips Nwachukwu, as very devastating, adding that he was a young man, who was very passionate about his job, as an arts and culture journalist.
Stating this in his condolence message, Ayakoroma said why it was very painful was because he had known late Mcphilips for many years, and had also seen him rise to become the Arts Editor of Vanguard Newspapers.
Praying for his gentle soul to rest in peace, the ES said that the death brings to the fore an urgent need for an insurance scheme for journalists in Nigeria to be put in place because of the nature of their work.
His words: “I received the shock, the demise of Mcphilips Nwachukwu, the Arts Editor of Vanguard Newspapers. It is quite devastating, considering the fact that I had known him for many years, and seen him rise to become the Arts Editor of Vanguard. His death further brings to the fore the urgent need for an insurance scheme for journalists in Nigeria. Our hearts go out to the family he has left behind. Since death is a necessary end, we can only pray for his gentle soul to rest in peace in the bosom of the Lord.”
A source close to the family told Nico News that Mcphilips, who had been having some medical challenges before now but was still carrying his duties very well, had cough and was rushed to the hospital in Lagos, where he died 15 minutes after in the early hours of Sunday morning.
It would be recalled that a few years ago, Mcphilips was diagnosed with a debilitating kidney ailment: one of his kidneys had failed while the remaining one had stones in it. Due to the delicate medical situation, he has to be flown to the US, where about $40,000 (5 million naira) was estimated for the treatment.
Unfortunately, he was unable to secure a visa to receive treatment in the US; but he eventually obtained a visa to South Africa to undergo a Laparoscopic Pyeloplasty (surgery), and he was treated in the Pretoria Urology Hospital by a medical team led by Dr. Francois du P. Boezaart.
The treatment went well and he had recuperated and resumed writing not only in the Vanguard Newspaper but his creative and research writing as doctoral student in the University of Lagos, Akoka.
It pains to recall a poem, Singing my own dirge, which Mcphilips wrote concerning his health challenge:
Don’t let me die;
a cockerel at mid life.
Don’t let me die, the first of the sun god
burning with dreams of yester- years …
Don’t let me die; the burden bearer of fate,
who stands at the threshold
clearing yesterdays mess of ash
May his gentle soul rest in peace! Amen!
Nwagbo Pat Obi